Guidelines for the Oboe Student
John W. Goodall, DMA
Professor of Music
Oboe, Saxophone, and Music Theory
Fingers curved. Thumbs always on
the instrument, never in the air.
Little fingers (pinkies)
should easily reach the (left)
the (right) D-flat
Sit up straight, bring the oboe
to your mouth, do not "bow" or bend your
head to the instrument.
Play with an open mouth. Teeth apart, lips rolled in, mouth
in a "whistle" or "pucker" formation. "Focus"
towards the upper lip.
Breath from the stomach, but a "full
tank'' is not needed. Do not "over blow" the reed;
quality (a fast air stream) not quantity is the most important
aspect of blowing on the oboe. Keep the air at the tip of the
Tongue with the tip of the tongue
on the tip of the reed. Tongue only with the tongue; do not tongue
with the jaw (chew) or tongue with the wind.
There are three requirements for a good reed:
Stability - the reed should "crow"
a C free of rattle and show the lower octave when pushed. It
should play in tune in all registers with very little movement
of the embouchure.
Response - the reed should respond in
all registers at all dynamic levels with little effort.
Tone - the reed should produce a dark
tone quality without having to cover with the
lips, thereby restricting stability and response.
To make reeds last longer and play more
consistently: always soak reeds in water a few minutes before
playing and store them in a reed case that allows them to dry
out completely. Never try to play on a dry or partially soaked
reed, this will cause them to crack and/or leak.
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